Goodwood Festival of Speed Delivers a Long Day Again

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Alpine Renault A442B 2.0T V6 this car won Le Mans 1978The frustration of the endless traffic queue and a ten minute journey that consumed an hour and a half of my life I won’t get back, all seemed to ebb away once entry was gained into the 2014 Festival of Speed. This year’s feature piece arches over Goodwood House; a remarkable steel structure designed by artist Gerry Judah for this year’s manufacturer of note, Mercedes-Benz. 85 feet high and just under 300 feet long the steel arch weighs in at 160 tons, it took four huge cranes 3 weeks to erect and it holds just two machines, Mercedes past and present. Auto Union Type C 1936 Supercharged 6.0 litre V16From the days of the ‘Silver Arrows’ the 1934 W25 was originally painted white. On the 2nd June 1934 it was facing disqualification for the next day’s race for being one kilo over the 750 kilogramme maximum limit. Team manager, Alfred Neubauer, ordered that all colour be removed from the body as it was lead based and the weight saved brought the car under the limit. Since that day the team has always raced in the polished alloy or silver finish. Alongside the past is the present, well almost, the 2013 AMG powered F1 Mercedes W04 that Lewis Hamilton piloted in 15 GPs and collecting five pole positions. As well as Mercedes 120 years in motorsport, the festival also commemorates Maserati 100 years. The Italian marque has produced some of the finest automobiles ever seen on or off track and many would be on show over the weekend. Ferrari 512S ‘Coda Lunga’ 1970 5.0 litre V12 long tail for Le Mans high speedJohn Surtees 50th anniversary of his 1964 Formula 1 title was to play a major part in the on track activities; winning world championships on two and four wheels meant many of his ‘tools of the trade’ would be seen together at the same time, some he rode or drove, others built as a team owner. ‘Addicted to Winning’ was the theme for 2014, something all the above could be accused of as were many of the other ‘names’ involved. The ‘Bentley Boys’ mounts from the 1930s old numbers 1, 2 and 3 came together, the Speed Six models with their huge 6.6 litre engines that won everything at Le Mans and Brooklands back in their day. Machines were put into batches with allocated times for their moments covering the 1.16 mile climb past Goodwood House to the top of the South Downs. Pioneering Giants led the way with the earliest, a 1903 Mercedes 60HP; this group also included the Beaulieu’s own 350HP Sunbeam that broke many records in the 1920’s. Pre-war machines group contained some of the greatest ever made, including the Napier-Railton Special, Bugatti Type 35C, Auto Union Type C and Mercedes W125 with its 5.7 litre supercharged 8 cylinder engine. Endurance racers of yesteryear included Jaguar C and D Types plus the beautiful Ferrari 250 GT. 100 years of Maserati saw 20 of the marques most iconic machines including the 250F, the earlier 6CM and up to date with the latest incarnation of the MC12 GT racer. M7A brought McLaren’s first F1 victory, this the 1969 M7CTouring cars included the Sierra Cosworth RS500, TWR Jaguar and Andy Rouse in the SD1 Rover from 1984. Rally, hill climb, NASCAR machines and post war Grand Prix cars included the 1965 1.5 V12 Honda and the 156 Ferrari ‘Sharknose’. F1 Classes included Cosworth powered machines followed by the turbo era up to the 1990s machines. Americana was well represented with Indy Car and so were the motorcycles with over 60 on the entry starting from the 1930s. Modern day F1 and Endurance machines such as Group C Le Mans racers of the 80s and that is all without mentioning the Rally stage at the top of the hill. All paddock areas were open to the public which meant that if you missed your favourite on track you could get to see it and with a bit of good fortune meet the driver or owner. The Cartier Style et Luxe was positioned on the lawns to the side of the house and what a fantastic collection of the rarest and most beautiful machines were assembled. Judges included Rowan Atkinson, Sir Chris Hoy and Sally Gunnell plus another ten especially chosen leaders in the design or motoring worlds. There is little doubt ‘the cars are the stars’ at the Festival, many of the rarest may not be seen again in public for years. Having spent the day in ‘petrol-head heaven’ the traffic around Chichester didn’t seem as bad on the way home, even though it’s worse than ever.Tags:, ,